Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday's Escape Into Romance Is..."Surrendering"


Chapter 29

   Brook held Grams on the sofa doing her best to comfort her while Richards and Landon spoke in low voices at the bar. She was not able to hear much of anything that was being said. Landon then walked behind her and left out the door.

   Richards came and sat down next to them in a club chair. “Landon is going to search for Devon.”

   “How could they have any rights to take her like that? She is not safe Richards,” Brook said.

   “We will bring her back shortly; do not worry either of you,” Richards said. He tried to remain strong in front of them. Secretly inside, he was terrified she would be shipped off before they had a chance to get her back. Lester knows a lot of bad people in many places. Anyone of them would do his bidding for the right amount of shillings.

   As everyone waited, minutes turned into an hour and an hour turned into two, then three. The tension in the room was thick. Landon had come back long ago and had been out two more times with no successful results. He had no idea where the hell Devon had gone. Landon was able to locate where Eli lived and left an urgent note with the butler for Devon or Eli. The only thing that was needed to secure Sarah’s freedom was the original will.

   Brook lept to her feet and said, “Someone is coming down the drive.” She pointed out the window.

   “It is not Devon,” Landon said with disappointment in his voice.

  The man’s knock on the large wooden double doors echoed throughout the house three times. Richards answered the door and the man handed him a note. Richards stood in the entryway and opened it. The note was in his brother’s handwriting.

   Grams, Brook, and Landon heard Richards voice as he shouted, “Oh dear God!”  Everyone ran into the entryway where Richards stood by the still open front door.

   “What is it Richards?” Grams asked. The look on his face terrified her.

   “It is from my brother who works for Lord Mcmay. Sarah is locked in the cellar with Collins and he says she needs help now. He goes on to say the staff is crying because of.” Richards stopped reading. He didn’t want to say it out loud to anyone.

“Why are they crying Richards?” Grams demanded.

Richards gazed to the three of them standing with waited breath for him to finish. “Because of Sarah’s pleading sounds of whimpering and screams for Collins to stop. There is more but I will not read it in front of the women.” Richards looked to Landon and said, “We need to do something now.”

   “What is it you need to do Richards?” Devon asked as he stood in the doorway smiling.

   Grams threw herself on Devon and began talking and sobbing in his arms. Devon could not understand a word she was saying. He wrapped his arms around her. “Grams whatever has you so upset?”

   “Mcmay has taken Sarah,” Landon said.

   Devon felt his heart pound and his stomach drop. “When?”

   Richards said, “Hours ago. This is a note I just received from my brother.” He handed it to Devon.

   Everyone watched Devon’s face as he read it. They saw his hands begin to tremble. Devon dropped the note and ran out the door.

   Landon followed him and Richards said to Grams, “We will need towels, water and a doctor.” Then he left and headed to the stable following Devon and Landon.

   The men rode fast and hard. It had begun to rain an hour ago and the wind had now started to pick up. It took them twenty minutes to get to Lord Mcmay’s estate. Upon arriving, Landon dismounted first and began to pound on the wooden doors. Richards joined Landon in front of the doors. Devon walked up, without waiting for someone to answer, opened the door and walked right in.

  Richards brother Edwards, was hobbling towards them as quickly as he could manage.  “Mcmay left a long time ago and Collins is in the kitchen with two of his friends.” He said.

   “Where is Sarah?” Devon demanded.

   “She is locked in the basement Sir. Collins has the only key.” He pointed down the hallway. “Sarah was calling for you Sir. I have not heard any sound from her since right before Collins came up from the cellar and I fear the worst.”

   Devon and Landon stormed towards the kitchen just as Collins and his two buddies were coming out. Devon hit Collins square in the face and knocked him out cold. Landon beat the tar out of the other two men in a matter of thirty seconds with Richards’s help.

   Devon found the key and opened the basement door. “Sarah!” He shouted as he ran down the stairs. The further he moved down the stone steps, the dimmer it became. The dam odor engulfed the space. The air felt cool and damp. He went to the left and hit a dead end. “Sarah where are you?” Devon turned back as he went the other way and followed the stone hallway around as it curved. “Sarah!” His voice was despite and cracking. His entire body was shaking. Devon was terrified as to what he might find.

   “I should have been home with her. If I had, none of this would have happened. Where are you Sarah? God help me please. Sarah!”

   As the curve of the stonewall ended, he stopped dead in his tracks as he saw her. He was petrified to move, to know if she was alive. Devon ran to the corner of the small room where Sarah was chained to the wall, hanging by her arms. A single torch in the opposite corner, light the small musty room.

   Devon picked up her head gently to check her breathing. She was badly beaten and covered in her own blood. He could not hear any sounds coming from her. “Richards!” Devon screamed as loud as he could. “Oh God Sarah no. Please breath for me sweet heart. Richards!” Devon’s voice was horrifying to hear.

   Richards and Landon came up next to him. Landon removed his coat and handed it to Richards as he looked away. Richards used it to cover Sarah’s bare chest.

   Richards said, “Devon go find the key for these chains.”

   “She is not breathing. Help me, she needs to breathe. Richards do something please. You have to save her for me please. I can’t live without her.” Devon was beginning to lose it.

   “Landon he is going into shock. Sit him down and find me the bloody key.” Richards tone was stern and calm.

   Landon left as he ran from the room. Devon sat on a stool next to Sarah’s lifeless body dangling by her wrists wrapped in rusty chains. He stared at the blood dripping from her face that had already stained her soft blond hair. She did not look like his Sarah. Devon followed a drip of blood as it fell from her chin to the floor. A large puddle had already formed at her feet. He looked back to her hair that was stained dark red, almost brown-black. His gaze moved down and to see her clothing torn away from her body.

   Richards checked her breathing and it was shallow. “She is breathing Devon. We will get her out of here and take her home but you need to get a hold of yourself. I will need your help. Devon! Look at me.”

Devon tore his eyes away from Sarah. “Richards I…I love her so much.”

“I know Devon.” Richards did not know what else to say to him. He wanted nothing more than to give his promise that Sarah was going to be fine…but he couldn’t. He knew that Sarah's life was most likely going to parish before night's end.

   Richards’s brother came down with a sheet to wrap her in. Devon stood up and pulled the coat from Sarah. He saw close-up what Collins had done to her body.

   Richards handed Devon the sheet and said, “Put this on her Devon.” Richards watched as Devon was not responding. Richards grabbed Devon and slapped him across the face. “If you are not going to help her then leave!” Richards needed Devon to remain focused.

   Devon looked down at the sheet in his hands and started to wrap it around Sarah’s body. His hands were shaking so hard he could barely form a fist to work with the material.

   Richards then handed Devon a large glass of scotch and said, “Drink this it will help calm your nerves son.” He was keeping his composure, he had to, Devon was in no condition to help anyone. He had caught a glance of what that man had done to her. In Richards’s opinion, this so called man was not human.

   Devon chugged down the scotch Richards had given him quickly. Staring into his empty glass he realized he was going to kill Collins. He was going to strangle the breath out of another human being without remorse. Devon knew he could live with it. He knew it was wrong and he didn’t care.

   Landon came back with tools in his hands. “Mcmay has the key. We can use these to break through the chains.”

   “Good thinking Landon,” Richards said as he took a set of tools from Landon.

   Devon stepped forward and said, “I will do it Richards.”

   Richards nodded handing him the ax.

   “Why is there a puddle of blood at her feet behind her?” Landon asked.

   Richards pulled back the sheet and saw a stab wound in her side. “She has been stabbed. You two get to work and I will apply pressure to the wound. You need to work quickly.” Richards bunched up the material and began pressing on the wound.

   Devon and Landon hit the chains to break them apart. After ten minutes, Richards pulled his hands away from Sarah’s wound and checked it. The bleeding had not stopped yet, although it had slowed some. He reached up and checked her pulse and then her breathing. “We really need to hurry gentlemen if you could please.” Honestly the smell of Sarah’s blood mix with the musty scent of the cellar was getting to him. The deafening clanking from the ax striking the chains was not helping him with his queezy feeling.

   After another ten minutes Landon broke threw his first. Sarah’s body slummed down as Richards caught her. Devon within a minute had broken threw the other chain.

   Devon took her up into his arms and headed for the stairs. Outside a carriage was waiting for him. He turned to Richards. “You take the horses and Collins.”

   Devon sat on the seat with Sarah in his arms. He was still applying firm pressure to Sarah’s wound on her side. Devon could feel her blood seeping down his leg. She felt cold and her body was so limp. Devon pulled back the sheet wrapped around her bloody body. He was horrified as he gazed at all the gashes and bite marks that covered her. He put the sheet back around her and held her tight against him as he began to tremble again. “I am so sorry Sarah. I should have never left this morning. I have failed you and I have failed your father. I am no hero for you.” Devon opened his eyes and gazed down at her legs resting on the seat. He saw the pink trim of the dress he had bought for her and had sent home to her. He felt his fist clench the wet sheet wrapped around her. Devon imagined how pretty she must have looked in it. He moved his eyes back to her swollen bruised face and kissed her forehead. He did not even recognize her. “Don’t leave me Sarah,” he whispered.

   When the carriage pulled up, Landon and Richards were waiting at the front steps for him. Devon carried Sarah’s pale limp body into the house. As he passed by Grams and Brook in the entry, the two women gasped and Grams let out a painful cry as she reached for Sarah’s hand dangling in the air.

   Brook gazed down at the trail of blood that was following Devon. She did not want Grams to see it, so she looked to Richards to take her. Richards gazed down and understood what Brook had saw. After Richards took Grams in the drawing room, Brook found some rags and a pail for water in the kitchen and started wiping up Sarah’s blood with a scrub brush as she then blooded it with the rags. She could her Grams crying over the sound of the bristles against the thick rug.

   Landon knelt down beside her and took a rag. He soaked it in the water and began to wipe as well. He looked over to Brook after a few minutes and saw her tears falling to the floor. He dropped his rag in the pail and took hers out of her trembling hands. Landon pulled her to her knees and hugged her tight.

  Brook felt her body soften in his arms. It felt so good to be held in his strong embrace, she felt safe. Brook had been holding in the whole day’s events and she could feel it starting to surface. She tried to push it back down until Landon’s hand ran threw the back of her hair and he started to rub her back. Those simple motions opened a floodgate. Brook wrapped her arms around his neck and cried hard as she let it all come out in his arms.

   Landon didn’t say anything to her, he just held her tight. He knew she had tried to be so strong for Sarah earlier that day. He recognized she was the rock in the group and always kept her composure for everyone around her. Right now, she needed someone to be that for her and he wanted to be that someone for her.

   Brook slowly pulled back from him and said, “I am sorry.”

   Landon took a handkerchief out of his coat pocket and handed it to her as he said, “I possibly needed that more than you did to be honest.”

   Brook finished wiping her face and smiled as she looked up to him. Landon felt himself lean into her and kiss her gently. She felt soft in his arms and her breath was sweet tasting.

   Brook kissed him back. She felt an over whelming sense of comfort in him kissing her. Brook let herself relax into his strong arms. For a brief moment she let everything just melt away. His hands closed around her waist and pulled her closer.

   The kiss lasted less than twenty seconds, as a voice from the drawing room caused them to stop. Landon still was hovering close to her lips and he brushed them gently with his. Brook’s eyes were closed and she felt like she was floating.

   “I don’t want to stop,” Landon said to her softy with his lips still grazing hers.

   They heard Richards voice near the doorway and moved slightly away from one another. Brook picked her rag back up and continued to wipe. Landon gazed down at her profile, as he was trying to figure out what just happened and why he had chosen that moment to kiss her.

   Devon opened the door and called to Brook. “The doctor needs some assistance.” Devon walked closer to her and explained that he was not married to Sarah and was not allowed to remain in the room past this point. Brook listened and then disappeared into the room.

   Landon was scrubbing the floor as Devon looked down to his friend. He grabbed a rag and helped.

   Richards approached them from behind. “You two should not be doing that.”

   Landon said, “I don’t mind it is giving me something to do.”

   There was a knock at the door behind them that drew their attention. Richards walked over and answered it. It was the officers from earlier. Richards escorted them in and over to Devon, who was still wiping the floor from Sarah’s blood.

   “What has happened here?” The round short man in charged asked.

   “This did not happen here. It happened at Mcmay’s. Sarah, the woman you dragged out of here pleading for you not too, was beaten and tortured and this is her blood,” Landon shouted at him.

   Where is she? I want to see her?” the man said.

   Richards said, “I will notify the doctor of your request, wait here.” Richards came back and said, “He will need a few minutes. He needs to finish closing her stab wound.” Then Richards walked away leaving the man standing there.

   Devon and Landon did not say a another word to the officer standing next to them. Landon noticed the man start to tap his foot on the rug by Devon’s hand. “I’m sorry Sir. Are we keeping you from something more important…like a round pastry perhaps?”

   The officer immediately looked to Landon and said, “I beg your pardon?”

   Devon said, “I think what my friend was trying to say was, you seem impatient about something. Now if you care to keep your foot attached to your ankle…Well I suggest you stop tapping it in our faces, officer.”

 At the moment he planned to reply to Devon, the doctor called for him. The short round man waddled away and into the room behind the door where Sarah was lying. Devon and Landon finished cleaning and went to the drawing room to join the others. Landon walked to the bar and poured a round of drinks.

   Grams saw Devon’s shirt and started to cry all over again. Devon looked down and realized his white shirt was no longer white. He removed his coat and then worked on his shirt. “Damn buttons,” he mumbled to himself.

   The officer and the doctor entered the room a second later. Both of them approached Devon and the room grew silent.

   “We will track down Mcmay and this Collins fellow. My men and I will question them to see what has happened.”

   “Collins is in my stable and Mcmay I believe is at a card game,” Devon said. He then looked to the doctor.

   “I have stopped her bleeding but she has lost a tremendous amount of blood Lord Price. Her face has a few broken bones and quite a few of her ribs are broke. That would explain why her breathing was so shallow when she was chained to the wall.” The doctor removed his glasses. “Sarah has what might possibly be a severe head injury. Right now, it is hard for me to discern the extent of the damage that has been done to her. She has a lot of swelling and when that begins to subside, I will be able to give you a better diagnosis. I have stitched up many areas and the bite wounds she sustained will heel in time… if she survives. I am truly sorry. I wish I was able to do more for her and you Lord Price.”

   Devon shook his head in understanding to what the doctor was telling him. “We are all grateful for everything you have done.”

   “Lord Price, it is my belief that this estate should prepare for the strong possibility that lady Mcmay will not make it till the morning Sir.” The doctor pinched his lips together as he heard the gasps and cries coming from behind Devon.

   Devon looked down to the floor. “Is there no hope for her?”

   The doctor placed his hand onto Devon’s shoulder and said, “Son, if you are not close with our lord, then now would be the moment to call upon him and introduce yourself.”

   Devon looked to him. “I see.”

   The silence of the room was shook alive by a thunderous pounding on the front door. Richards rose to go and open it but whoever was on the other side of it, just barged threw and into the room.

   “You had no right to enter my house and take what does not belong to you.” Mcmay was walking towards Devon and pointing his finger at him. “Where is the little chit?”

   Devon lunged foreword after him as he pushed past the officers. He wrapped his hands around Mcmay’s throat and tackled him to the ground. “You bloody bastard! How could you?” He squeezed so hard he thought his hands were going to break. Devon wanted to watch this man die. He wanted to make him suffer. Every man in the room used all their strength to pull Devon from Mcmay.

   After Mcmay was free from Devon’s grip and up on his feet again, he said, “She needed to know her place. Collins was kind enough to assist me with that.” Mcmay gave Devon a wide evil grin as he narrowed his eyes at him as well.

   Landon reached out a punched Mcmay in his throat hard. Mcmay fell against the side table and smashed threw it with Landon landing on top of him. Landon went to draw up his arm and hit Brook in the mouth with his elbow. Landon had not even noticed. Brook quietly left the room to sit with Sarah. She could not stand anymore of this insanity.

   “Landon James stop!” Grams shouted in a stern motherly tone. As Landon looked to Grams, Mcmay hit him in the eye knocking him off his body. The officers abruptly stepped in to take Landon’s arms. One of the officers locked him in cuffs.

   Grams stepped foreword addressing the chubby Captain, “You remove those shacklings without haste.”

   “With all due respect Lady Wilsbee, they will remain in place until everyone in this room gains some resemblance of composer. Now, I will go and have an interview with Lord Mcmay while the rest of you remain still…and silent.”

     Mcmay cleared his sore throat and attempted to shout, “These people have no rights to her,” he said as he was coughing. “I am taking her back with me right now.”

   “You cannot move her. I will not allow it,” the doctor said with disbelief filling his voice.

   “I can do what I wish with her,” Mcmay said and then turned to Devon and finished his sentence, “And to her.”

   Richards hit Mcmay in the back of the head with a poker for the fire. Mcmay fell to the ground flat on his face.

   The officer shouted, “Bloody hell, have all of you gone mad?”

   “Yes we have. Did you see her face and the state of her body? I assume not, because if you had, then you would not be asking us that,” Grams said to the officer.

   Mcmay stumbled to his feet. “I want her removed now,” he said while holding the back of his head. “And I want this man arrested,” he pointed to Richards.

   The officer looked to Devon and said, “My hands are tied on this Sir. I have to allow it, he is her charge.”

   Devon took a step forward and said, “She is to be my wife tomorrow. If you attempt to go anywhere near her, I will kill you and anyone else who tries after you.”

   Mcmay started laughing and said, “I will not give consent for the marriage.”

   Devon said, “You have no authority over her. I have found Benjamin’s original will. You drew up a fake one and now you will hang for attempted murder.”

   “Prove it Price. I want to see this will.” Mcmay challenge him.

   Devon looked to the officer and said, “A friend of mine is holding it safe for me. As soon as I can reach him I will give you all the proof you need.”

   The officer ran his hand through his hair then said, “I am sorry. If you do not have it right now, I cannot help you Lord Price.”

   “He has it right here.” Eli handed it to the officer.

   Devon was shocked to see him. Eli smiled and said, “I have been sitting in the corner with Grams for an hour.”

   “I am glad you are here.” Devon grabbed him and shook his hand. Eli patted his back. “I am too, my friend.” Eli released him. “Landon had left an urgent note with James my butler and I came straight here without haste.”

   The officer called for his men outside the room and had them take Mcmay and Collins away. “You have my deepest sympathy regarding Lady Mcmay and do wish an acute recovery. I will be in touch.” Then he left.

   Devon walked over to Grams who was sitting on the sofa. He keeled down so he was eye level with her and said, “I had wanted to tell you about our engagement differently and celebrate with you. I am sorry it was delivered to you in this manner Grams.”

   She smiled at him and said, “I do not care of that my boy. I knew last night at the ball you were going to ask for her hand. Any man who makes that much of an ass of himself, has to love the woman draped over his shoulder. Go and be with your future wife Devon. She needs you.”

   Devon kissed her and then left the room to his study where Sarah was. Devon quietly knocked on the door and then opened it. He saw Brook sitting by her side. “Do you mind if I come in Brook?”

   “Not at all Devon.” Brook stood up to leave.

   “You do not have to leave,” Devon said to her.

   “I want to Devon. She needs you to be with her.” Brook smiled weakly at him.

   “Are you alright Brook?” Devon asked her.

   “I will be alright when I know Sarah will be.”

   “I cannot lose her Brook. She is my everything and I love her.” Devon gazed at Sarah.

   Brook put her hand on his arm and said, “She looked beautiful in the dress you sent for her. Interesting choice of buttons.” She chuckled.

   Devon smiled. Brook looked to him and said, “I have never known a woman to love a man as much as she loves you Devon. I truly believe for that reason alone, she will not let go.”

   “Did she talk about me to you?” he asked her.

   Brook said, “She didn’t have to. Anyone could see it when you were in the room with her. We had been talking earlier this day and she said something I thought you might want to know.” Brook waited for Devon to look to her. “She had told me she would have never thought she would be able to find a man as amazing as her father was. Sarah said you were perfect in every way possible to her. She referred to you as her hero. Knight and shining charmer is what she called you.”

   Devon smiled at Brook but he really wanted to cry. He was no hero or anything else to her. Brook said good-bye and left. Devon sat quietly next to Sarah. He did not care how she was going to be or look later on, he just wanted her to wake up and say his name. Devon remained by her side watching her breathe and on occasion saw the twitching of her fingers.

   When Brook left the room, Landon was waiting outside the door.

   “Devon is in with Sarah.”

   “I know. I was standing out here waiting for you. Are you all right? I want you to come and eat something Brook.” Landon said softly.

   “Thank you but I do not feel much like eating now.” Brook said to him without making any eye contact.

   They began to walk down the hallway together. Landon said, “I shall get you some tea. Will you drink some tea for me at least?”

   “I can get the tea Landon,” Brook said.

   “No I will get the tea, you go sit down.” His voice was slightly soft with an undertone of direction to it.

   Brook did not argue with him and sat down. She noticed the blood on her dress. She would need to go and change soon but she was so tired. In a few minutes, she told herself. The room was quiet, as everyone had moved to the dining room for dinner, although she was sure they really weren't in the mood for food either. Brook put her feet up on the sofa after she removed her shoes. She laid back and it finally hit her how drained she truly felt.

   Landon returned with a maid carrying Brook’s tea and found her asleep on the sofa. He had the maid put the tray down and he sat in a chair next to Brook. Landon watched her chest rise and fall as her breaths slowed and deepened with her slumber she was falling into. He closed his eyes and let his head fall back against the chair.

   Brook was unsure how much time had passed when she awoke. Gazing to the chair next to her, she saw Landon in what looked to her to be a very uncomfortable position. He was sitting on his hands behind him. She reached over and placed her hand on his knee. “Landon,” she whispered.

   Landon woke and saw Brook leaning over in front of him. “Hello Red.”

   Brook smiled and sat back down. “I haven’t heard that one before. You are so cleaver and creative with your choice of words. Women must simply fall to your feet with whit like that.” She gave him a quick glance as she poured some tea for them.

   “Oh you are very Irish Brook O’Brien. Your mouth is as fiery as your hair seems to be.” Landon gave her a sideways smirk.

   “Would you be talking with me if it weren’t?” Brook saw Landon’s smile widen. “I thought not.” She reached over and placed a small scope of sugar in both the tea cups. “Sarah has awoken slightly. The doctor said that is a great sign. Devon has not left her side.”

   “I would suspect not, knowing Devon. I believe she will recover fully Brook.”

   Brook gazed to him and said, “She is talking somewhat and she knows who everyone is so far. The memory of tonight is gone though.”

   “Would you want her to remember?” Landon asked.

   “No, it is just that her memory from the entire last week is gone as well. Sarah does not remember Devon asking her to be his wife.”

   “Well, look at it this way Brook. At least Devon will know what her answer will be when he asked this time around, right.”

   Brook started laughing softly. “I suppose you’re right.” She held out the cup of tea for Landon. After a moment, he still had not taken it from her. Brook glanced at him and saw a smile on his face. “Is this amusing to you that I am holding out tea for you?”

   “No that is only half of what is amusing about this.”

   Brook put the tea down in front of him. “I my questioning if I dare ask you why Landon.”

   “Oh do ask because I think you shall find it possible more amusing than I”

   Brook shook her head and said, “Alright then. What is so amusing?”

   Landon sat back a little more comfortable and said, “You see my Red, you are holding out a cup of tea for a man whom you assume can take the tea from you.”

   “You are not making any sense Landon.”

   “The whole thing makes perfect sense, Red,” Landon said,

   “It does not and stop calling me Red.” Brook picked up her tea and sipped it carefully. She thought for a moment about what he was saying. She quickly looked at him.

   Landon smiled again at her. “Ah, you are more cleaver than I thought,” he said.

   “What? Landon no.” Brook burst out into laughter.

   Grams entered the room and brought with her the aroma of mini muffins with blueberries. “What is so funny Brook?”

   Brook just shook her head. She was laughing too hard to answer her at that moment.

   Grams sat down next to Brook. “Good gracious my child, breathe.”

   Landon said, “You will soon be laughing as well. In all the fuss over Mcmay and Collins the officers forgot something of theirs.”

   Grams leaned foreword and asked, “What was it?”

   Brook shouted out, “Their cuffs on Landon!”

   “Oh heavens no.” Grams began laughing with Brook.

   Landon stood up. “I see neither of you plans to offer me a lick of aid.”

   Grams stood up and announced she was going to fetch Richards. Landon started to follow her out of the room.

   “Wait, I can undo them for you Landon,” Brook said. She pulled a hairpin from her hair and walked over to him…still giggling of course.

   “I told you it would be more amusing to you.”

   Brook said, “I do apologize but how could you not remember to say something?” She began to work on the cuffs.

   “Honestly, I was wondering where you had gone. I did not see you and I…I was wondering.” He felt Brook pause for a second with the cuffs. Just then he heard a snap.

   “Oh no,” Brook whispered.

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Cary ~ Mizz Romantica